Clear Cut Conversation - How Social is changing employee expectations

Clear Cut Conversation - How Social is changing employee expectations

Bod with a mac

‘Is the employee survey dead?’, an interesting new research project from HR magazine and Silverman puts forward the idea that the way organisations should interact with their employees has moved far beyond the traditional appraisal.

Both the way employees interact with each other and their relationship with organisations has changed dramatically over the last few years – in no small part due to the rising popularity of social media.

The idea that the HR profession is behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with technology is not new. However what this study proposes goes further than suggesting HR should join the cloud or simply get online when it comes to managing performance. The implication here runs deeper, proposing the idea that appraisals as most organisations run them simply don’t reflect the modern workforce, and further than this, HR are in danger of losing touch with employees. This, the study states, is in large part due to the rise of social networking. Employees are now accustomed to interacting in a real-time way with both each other and their organisation, which means HR should be moving with the times and reflecting this type of interaction back at them within the workplace. The report proposes that many organisations have lost sight of what they set out to do – listen to their people.

There is also another factor at play here. Organisational social interaction and brand personality now overlaps with individual social interaction and personal brand, meaning people expect more communication and transparency from their organisation and its leaders. According to the project founders Michael Silverman (MD of Silverman Research) and Katie Jacobs (Features Editor of HR Magazine) it is leaders that are failing to provide the transparency their workforce want as they either haven’t recognised the need, or are fearful of the consequences. It also points out that only 33% of organisations currently use social technology to gather employee feedback, and this must change.

So what does this mean for the traditional employee appraisal?

First and foremost it means a big shift away from a longstanding culture that is embedded in most organisations. However, change is necessary. What is needed is an evolution in employee feedback in order to make it more relevant, rather than making the employee appraisal obsolete. The fundamentals of good performance management haven’t changed – the key is still communication, and now there are more avenues through which to do it.

Far from rendering employee appraisals obsolete, the growth of social means that staff are far more comfortable giving feedback, expressing their opinion, and interacting with their company – as well as with aligning their personal brand and career goals with the goals of the company. Both the way we collect and interpret data has evolved too. The report describes this as a shift toward ‘data driven storytelling and emotional connection’. Changing the way we think of employee feedback as well as the way we gather it brings the opportunity to combine qualitative and quantitative data to think about patterns, predictions and performance across both hard and soft data, in combination with other analytics.

Performance management and employee feedback should never be a box ticking exercise, and what this report puts forward is an extension of that principle. It should reflect the way that employees work, gather meaningful information regularly and encourage communication. HR, like any other business needs to keep up with the changing way we work and interact – social media and other new technologies make that easier, meaning organisations don’t have to rely solely on the feedback gained from annual appraisal. There are many other forms of data and communication that can be used additionally to augment the appraisal process in an on-going way. Working online means that communication can be instant and staff can feedback on tasks and targets at any time. The modern workforce is increasingly used to interacting in this way due to social media, so they are likely to be much more comfortable providing honest, regular feedback. As long as managers and HR are willing to do the same, the employee appraisal is far from dead, it is evolving into something better.

You can participate in the survey here – we would love to hear your comments on this topic too., tweet us @Carbon_360

Articles by date

Just so you know...

We use cookies to help create this site's interactive features and a better experience for our users - Learn more about cookies.